Saturday and Sunday marked the first weekend when tear gas was not used to quell protests. Violence was minimal on both sides except for an incident that occurred on Saturday after a march from Hoi Sham Park, To Kwa Wan into Mong Kok. After protestors surround the Mong Kok police station and briefly blocked Nathan Rd. riot police swooped in clearing away protestors without arrest or much violence. A cat and mouse routine ensued with protestors splintering off down alleys and police giving chase. From an overpass protestors started raining garbage cans down onto police and their vehicles. A police officer responded with one bean bag round into the bridge, effectively ending that clash. Journalists appeared to be occupying several corners of the neighborhood in protest but were just lost and confused.
On Sunday, despite heavy rain, a whopping 1.7 million Hong Kongers showed up for a government sanctioned rally in Victoria Park in Causeway Bay. Protestors defied a government order that they contain the march to Victoria Park and marched several kilometres to Admiralty and Central. The march showed the movement was still unified in its opposition to Carrie Lam’s government despite recent violent episodes on the part of protestors. If anything, it proves the movement is more potent than previously thought. Though decentralized it still operates with a conscience and the ability to restrain itself. If the violence can be turned on and off like a water tap it may prove to be more effective as leverage in what appears to be a long and continuing struggle for human rights in Hong Kong. The march culminated in an occupation of Harcourt Rd. in Admiralty outside Government HQ and the PLA HQ. Protestors once again put on a dazzling laser light show using the PLA and HK government buildings as backdrops. When PLA guards appeared on routine inspection rounds and HK police officers could be seen behind their barricades they were lit up with Technicolor laser assaults. Protestors also verbally assaulted the police calling them dogs, gangsters, and nazis. At one point a melee began when a Mainland Chinese man was surrounded by protestors. Instead of resorting to violence, protestors surrounded the man shouting expressions such as “Remember June 4” a reference to the deadly crackdown in Tiananmen Square in Beijing executed by the Communists. There was a girl who attempted to stab the man with a rainbow 711 umbrella but was thwarted by other protestors.
Throughout the weekend I observed people who had set up stations selling goggles, gas masks, helmets, and other equipment used by protestors. More interestingly I found a young man who was offering RFID protectors for HK ID cards. He claimed that new cards are implanted with microchips and telephone polls have scanners built into them to track people. He was offering the protectors for donations to buy more gear for the movement.
I continued to look for opportunities to photograph the landscapes of the protests and achieved decent results during Saturday’s post-march occupation of Nathan Rd. and since I had my flash with me I used it to photograph protestors and police. I never know which pictures I’ll like later so I try and make the same pictures with and without it.
Seems no-one knows what’s next for the protestors and protests. Uncertainty continues but at least the city had a reprieve from all the hot gas.